Tonka beans have a high content of coumarin, an anticoagulant substance which is present, in smaller quantities, also in lavender, licorice, cinnamon and strawberries. Tonka beans are excellent as a cough reliever.
Dipteryx odorata is a fruit-bearing tropical tree plant. The seeds of its fruits are commonly called Tonka beans and are dried and used for culinary or cosmetic purposes.
Tonka bean is used grated in sweet and savory preparations. Like nutmeg, they are to be used directly in the dough at the moment. Excellent in fish tartare, in risotto with a delicate flavor, in biscuits, cakes and creams. It can be a valid substitute for vanilla. Tonka bean is the kernel of the fruit produced by a tree called Dipterix odorata, widespread in the Caribbean and South America.
The plant whose brown and wrinkled seeds resemble the date, but inside they reveal a sort of grated white almond, releases a characteristic herbaceous smell of hay-vanilla-honey ( the aromatic essence is called coumarin, from coumaru, the name of the beans in the areas of origin). A special ingredient, adored above all by chefs from all over the world for its unique taste and aroma.
Its perfume in fact made it usable above all in perfumery, while its use as a spice in the kitchen is quite recent.
Origins and notes of history:
Dipteryx odorata is native to South America where it grows in the most humid and wooded states of Brazil such as Mato Grosso, Pará and Amazonas. It also grows on the northern coast of South America, as in Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, up to Colombia and Peru. It is also grown in Trinidad and Tobago and in African states such as Kenya and Nigeria.